STUDENTS in University College Cork have been warned about a mumps outbreak in the region that is particularly affecting people in third-level education.
A statement from UCC Student Health Services said there has been an increase in the number of cases of mumps and the flu over the past two weeks.
Students were urged to ensure that they had “at least a lifetime total of 2 doses of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine”.
The instructions come after it the HSE’s Department of Public Health revealed there has been an increase in mumps cases in Cork and Kerry in recent months.
So far this year 68 cases of mumps have been reported in the Cork and Kerry area, with 10 of these cases notified in the last 10 days.
“The majority of cases are in the 15 to 24 years group and many are in third-level colleges,” said Dr Fiona Ryan, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, in an email to GPs in the region.
“It is very likely that there will be additional cases over the coming weeks,” she warned.
Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection that usually affects children.
While mumps does not usually cause any long-term problems in children, it can lead to a higher risk of developing complications when contracted by teenagers and adults.
Complications of mumps include painful swelling of the testicles in boys and men, swelling of the brain or viral meningitis, deafness and, in rare cases, infertility in men.
Nationally, there has been a large increase in mumps cases since 2018, with more than 2,000 cases so far this year.
Dr Ryan advised that, in this outbreak scenario, GPs may offer MMR catch-up vaccines to those without them and claim payment for it after.
GPs have been asked to notify any suspected cases of measles and mumps to the Department of Public Health.